Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/758/16397
PCS budget day strike - M20
Reports from the picket lines and rallies
These are extracts from the many inspiring reports we received about the strike, longer versions of which are on the Socialist Party's website: PCS picket line reports
Central London was dotted everywhere with the yellow and blue of PCS flags and placards. One picket at the Passport Office said: "I normally hate getting up early but this morning I thought 'great!'"
Strikers felt that the PCS plan of three months of a campaign of action and trying to coordinate with other unions is what's necessary.
Everyone I spoke to thinks there should be a one-day general strike and agreed with the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of the TUC general council on 24 April that has been called to urge the TUC to name the date for a general strike.
Catering staff for the House of Lords were in a defiant mood. Catering staff throughout parliament have already suffered £100,000 worth of cuts and are now being told they have to suffer further cuts in overtime rates and terms and conditions.
The staff have to work 14 or 15 hours a day to provide subsidised food for MPs and the Lords. The lowest paid are on only £900 a month, working a 40-hour week.
Meanwhile the members of the House of Lords get an attendance allowance of £300 a week just for turning up, plus a £54 a day meal allowance! No surprise the pickets were determined to take further action - hitting parliament in its stomach - if the government doesn't retreat.
Outside the Maple House Homes and Communities Agency office on Tottenham Court Road, housing workers in the Unite union were also striking and picketing, in coordination with the national PCS strike. The Unite workers were striking against a divisive and inequitable pay offer.
30-plus Unite and PCS workers were on the picket line. PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh, Unite branch secretary Suzanne Muna and Unite regional secretary Pete Kavanagh spoke to the strikers and supporters.
Strikers were keen to sign the NSSN general strike petition to make sure other unions join them in taking action next time.
Paul Kershaw and Sarah Wrack
Solid strike action by PCS members across Swansea and South West Wales meant most offices were fully closed or providing a limited service.
Socialist Party members visited picket lines across Wales. As one picket thanked us for our solidarity and support she reminded us that this was the first round of action and expected to see us again on 5 April!
- Maidstone Jobcentre had seven pickets, the strike was solid despite years of no pickets. Across Kent more DWP offices had solid pickets than before.
- There were PCS picket lines at all the main civil service workplaces in Bristol. Despite cold weather and an early start, pickets were buoyed by the strength of the strike to defend jobs, pay and conditions and protect services. While George Osborne was announcing further attacks on ordinary people from the comfort of parliament, 60 people joined a local strike rally.
National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC General Council
Name the date for a 24-hour general strike!
Wednesday 24 April, from 8.30am outside TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
The 7th annual conference of the NSSN: 29 June 2013 11am - 5pm in the Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE
Speakers include union general secretaries Mark Serwotka, PCS, Billy Hayes, CWU and Steve Gillan, POA
In The Socialist 27 March 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist: readers' comments